After building my first PC a year ago, the one thing that still feels overwhelming is the world of gaming peripherals. Trying to decipher what the hell a refresh rate is or the speed of my mouse’s DPI sounds intimidating, but seeing how these things impact competitive gaming on my sweet rig is something I’m still learning.

I’ve only recently experienced the joys of custom key binding for games like Fortnite and the powers I unlock when I actually use those buttons on the side of my mouse. I actually saw improvements in my play after remapping my building keys and having a panic button on my mouse that lets me whip out my primary weapon at the drop of a dime.

But what about those peripherals that don’t really make a difference? I sat down with Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio and Gizmodo’s Alex Cranz to talk about the peripherals that actually improve your gaming and the ones that don’t really matter at all.

Hear our peripheral recommendations in the video. Here’s an excerpt:

Cecilia: There’s a LAN cafe in New York that I go to a lot and it’s great. I started going there and I realized I was winning a lot more Overwatch games when I was there. I was like, “This is weird. Is it the atmosphere? Is it because I ordered a latte? Do I wanna impress everyone? Am I just awesome?” I asked the owner one day, “Why am I so good at this game when I’m playing here?” and he was like, “It’s the refresh rate on these monitors.”

Alex: Refresh rate is a big deal. Refresh rate on a cheap monitor— you see a monitor and you’re like, “Oh that’s a 4K monitor and it’s 200 bucks, I’m gonna buy it!” and for really twitchy stuff like Call of Duty, fighting games, or sometimes with Overwatch, that matters because you can see that person starting to jump. Whereas with a lower refresh rate, you might not see that beginning animation because it refreshed right past it.

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Ceclila: I’m so angry that matters, though! I can spend 100 to 250 dollars on a monitor and it’s not good enough! That’s bullshit.

Paul: It’s especially interesting with games like Battlegrounds and Fortnite, and things where you need to see people from a distance quickly. Like you go to a gaming cafe and you’re way better than you are at home. It blows. It makes you reconsider all of the stuff you have at home. That’s why I’ve always been intimidated by the PC side of things, because I’ve been a console gamer all of my life and that stuff never came into my brain at all.


Watch the full episode to hear more. Be sure to check out Viewpoints every Tuesday. If you want to watch it on YouTube, here’s a playlist.